Are you immune to being homeless? Do you feel you and your family will never suffer the dangerous and demoralizing plight of knowing each night you do not having a roof over your head, food to eat or a bed to sleep in?
Unfortunately, we should not be feeling so smug and certain. Let’s face it, no one grows up dreaming of a life on the mean streets of some town or city. However, the reality is, many of us are a job loss, physical or mental illness, disability, domestic abuse victim, or addiction away from being homeless and living on the street.
Homeless happens, it could happen to anyone, even you! Become aware, make others aware, most importantly…have a heart, sincerely care! 1.
In a recent CBC report I learned:
At least 200,000 Canadians experience homelessness in any given year.
At least 150,000 Canadians a year use a homeless shelter at some point.
At least 30,000 Canadians are homeless on any given night.
At least 50,000 Canadians are part of the “hidden homeless” on any given night — staying with friends or relatives on a temporary basis as they have nowhere else to go.
These numbers come from the Canadian Homelessness Research Network (CHRN) and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, the groups behind what they call the first extensive national report card on homelessness. 2.
Of the 30,000 people who are homeless each night:
2,880 unsheltered (outside in cars, parks, on the street)
14,400 staying in Emergency Homelessness Shelters
4,464 provisionally accommodated (homeless but in hospitals, prison or interim housing)
7,350 staying in Violence Against Women Shelters 3.
(Infographic attribution: The Homeless Hub)
I would like to introduce you to a man, to whom I recently became aware. Jason McComb, 37, is an advocate for the homeless and down trodden or less fortunate in St. Thomas Ontario. As well as doing Awareness Walks (most recently in November 2013) in 2012, he founded and single handedly operates the non-profit organization, Homeless Happens Helping Hand.
McComb of St. Thomas, Ontario recently completed a near 800 Km walk from St. Thomas to Ottawa, Ontario in the hope of raising awareness to the plight of homeless people. Homeless himself, “off and on” for the past 20 years, he is now, “homeless by choice”. (the reason he is homeless by choice is, “… if I have to pay for a place to live I can not afford to run Homeless Happens Helping Hands.”)
On April 1st, 2013, McComb will set out and walk from St. Thomas, Ontario to Toronto, Ontario where he will board a flight to St John’s, Newfoundland to begin his walk. His journey will take him through every province (see map), making an abundance of stops in many cities to raise awareness along the way until he reaches his final destination, Victoria, British Columbia.
Along the way he will need to eat as well as stay hydrated. Shoes and clothing will be critical to this effort and he will need to replace those along this walk. He will be purchasing clothes at second hand and thrift stores and then donating those and replacing as he goes.
There are numerous safety requirements needed on such a walk. A concerned acquaintance has contacted Telus, and through a corporate sponsorship has secured for him the use of a cellphone and tablet. He will also need:
- Gift cards for pharmacies ( for treatment of a debilitating health issue), restaurants, coffee shops and stores.
- A GPS system to assist in navigation
- Transportation expenses
- Unexpected expenses that will arise.
- The list goes on and on, anything will help.
He currently has $150.00 in funding and his trek begins in 15 days!
I recently spoke with McComb and suggested he should put this off until he has secured more sponsors and/or funds, but he is determined to make this happen and will not be dissuaded.
McComb does not know what to expect during this walk, it is the biggest, most challenging undertaking of his life.
Homelessness is an epidemic that is sweeping the country. But except for the occasional news story, feeling awkward as we pass a homeless person, or occasional twinges of guilt, we are doing little to help cure this horrible plague.
This is such a worthy cause, one that makes many of us uncomfortable and prefer not to recognize. Any help this young man can receive will help in his battle to raise awareness of homelessness. We would all do well to remember that we are one job, or one unfortunate situation away from walking in the footsteps of this man and so many others just like him.
You can learn more about McComb and this cause by visiting, Walking in the Free World II, as well as, Homeless Happens Helping Hands on:
You can lend your financial support to McComb as he walks across the country in his Walking in the Free World II to raise awareness of homelessness by visiting this link –
“Despite not being prepared, advice not to do this, I will begin Walking All Through and Across Canada for The Less Fortunate/Down Trodden, and Homeless In Particular When I Begin “Walking In The Free World II” On April 01, 2014 Raising Awareness, and Inspiring/Motivating Change & Action To End Homelessness & Less Fortunate Situations!” (Jason McComb)
You can read about McComb’s walk from St. Thomas, Ontario to Ottawa, Ontario here:
By Ian McCallum, St. Thomas Times-Journal
By Ian McCallum, St. Thomas Times-Journal
3.) http://www.homelesshub.ca/blog/picture-isnt-pretty#sthash.ZKvtYEkQ.dp uf
What are your thoughts on homelessness?
Do you feel it could never happen to you?